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A Recent Find: A Report from Dubrovnik on the State of the Ottoman Empire (1531)

Žarko Muljačić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 353 Kb

str. 33-46

preuzimanja: 1.483



The author analyzes a brochure housed at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Its lenthy title (composed of eleven lines) begins with the words Littera De Raguzia (sic) and includes information, in the form [of entries/of a list/of a table of contents], on five different subjects («celestial omens,» dynastic weaknesses, military defeats, etc.), all of which seem to anticipate the oncoming decline of the Ottoman Empire. This letter, penned by an anonymous author in Dubrovnik and dated 16 November 1531, was based on the news delivered by unnamed merchants (Ragusans, presumably), immediately upon their arrival from Constantinople. It was addressed to a nameless «superior» (the addressee possibly being fictious). The place of publication is not mentioned. As judged by the language of the text, it could have been written in Rome, where a distinctive sub-genre of nonliterary protojournalistic prose (known today as avviso) was flourishing at that time. It would be most interesting to determine whether the above-mentioned «good news, which certainly encouraged the Christians, was true, or just hearsay (especially the spicy bits of news that leaked either from the Ottoman court or [the Sultan’s/some] harem. Also, it would be interesting to find out whether the «Vicar» proceeded to the West all the information available or just extracts his addressee and the Italian readership expected to hear.

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